Friday, October 30, 2009

Big Bad 3 Year Old

Hello Everybody! It's me again -- Tatiana! Mama says since I am 3 now, I have to start earning my keep - and that means I get to help out with the blog.

Me and my new "slower" - from Grampa & Gramma

I have had a super busy week. After my birthday party, my Aunt Carrie and cousin Mary spent the night. It was really fun and Mary and I got to hang out, dance, watch my favorite TV shows and play. Mama was really proud of me and smiled a lot because she said it was one of the first times that I didn't just watch everyone and I actually got in the mix and played. Mary and I really enjoyed each other and mama kept say how nice it was to see me so happy and laughing all the time. Not that I am grump other times -- but, you know mamas.

Hangin with Mary

Mama also keeps telling me that Halloween is this weekend. I am not sure yet what all that entails, but I do like pointing out all the pumpkins I see when we are in the car. I have this cool thing she keeps calling a costume, but I think it's just a pretty dress. She's made me try it on a couple times and gramma did something to "fix my hat". That crazy mama keeps making me say "trick or treat" now and then for practice. Reminds me of when we practiced blowing out candles for my birthday.

Speaking of pumpkins, we cut up two of our pumpkins this week. Mama thought I'd help a little more, but I really thought the insides were kinda gross. Plus Uncle Mark showed up with a birthday present - and well, birthday present vs. pumpkin guts? No contest.

Helping mama with pumpkins, "New-New" (Casey), the kitty helped too
Finally, I want to say hi to 3 of my favorite people: An-sheen, Anna M., and Krista - each who had a rough week this week in their own way. Big hugs from me and my mama to each of you. Please know we are thinking about you all. More pictures tomorrow after I wear that crazy costume thing. Hey! Can you believe I have been home for 7 months now??

Monday, October 26, 2009

More Pictures From Birthday #3

Here are some more pictures from Little T's 3rd birthday! My good slideshow making website is closed now -- so I had to find another source. Not sure I love it yet. Any suggestions fellow blogites?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yipeeee, Tati's 3!!!

Here she is... the beautiful birthday girl! Tatiana Elizabeth turned 3 today. WHAT a difference a year makes. Before I get to that, here is a quick snapshot of today.

Little T woke in new jammies sent Gramma and Grampa. Very fitting for the upcoming Halloween week!

... opened presents from mama! And had a party! More pictures later... but this is a big week for anniversaries and events!
A year ago today I filed my intent to adopt a little girl in Artem, Russia. It was the end of a whirlwind week and I was exhausted, excited and ready to start my life with this gorgeous child. It also happened to be her birthday. She was turning two. While I was overjoyed at our future together as mama and child, I was saddened that yet again she wouldn't have a special day. But it was so much more than that. As much as her caretakers loved her and cared for her - it isn't the same as parental love. You can easily start to think of all the things she was missing above and beyond a cake and ice cream.
I visited her with a balloon, some treats for her groupa, a teddy bear, and some clothes. One outfit she has on in her picture below. It was so hard to leave her but I knew I'd be back - and this time we'd be together for good.
A year later she has changed my life as much as hers has changed. She's an amazing, happy, sweet girl and I am so thankful that we were matched - even by crazy twist of fate - together. She's come so far this year, I love watching her personality emerge.
Thank you to all our friends and family who have supported and cheered us on this year. Your love and support means the world to us!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Metcha Day

One year ago today I met my daughter. The day ended drastically different than it started. In the morning, I was scared, frustrated, excited - everything. I was told when I landed in Russia that my referral was "not good". I had flown a long way and was wondering how I'd ever be able to do the crazy trip #1 again if I had to decline a referral and there was no other child to see.

It's amazing how fate works. My friend Joy said the other day that Tatiana and I were like a pair of mittens - we just fit together. My mother told Tatiana a few months ago that she was the best idea I ever had.

I can't agree more...

I have a hard time remembering life before Tatiana. I used to be a TV junkie. I love pop culture - and TV fits into that so well. These days, I am lucky to get caught up on Glee and Grey's Anatomy. I have 5 full episodes (the max my DVR keeps of a show) of Project Runway, Saturday Night Live and Monk waiting for me - that I may never get to. I haven't watched my Netflix movie that's been waiting here for me for a month when I used to schedule it so I could get two movies in a week. Watch Saturday or Sunday - in the mail Monday, new movie received and watched Wednesday - in the mail Thursday - new movie for the weekend. Repeat.

I still find the occasional moment to blog and check in with facebook but it's typically at night after the little one is asleep. I used to stay awake almost nightly until midnight, now I am lucky to see 10:30 - 11pm. I used to never miss a party/shower/happening if I could avoid it -- and now, I RSVP'd no to my cousin's baby shower because it's adults only and I can't imagine choosing to spend another 6 hours away from her on a weekend, when I am already away from her enough!

Looking back 1 year ago, after declining my first referral and waiting to see if I could meet the 2nd one that day, I spied a little girl with a red hat on and brown curls tumbling out the back. I said "I wish I could have a little girl JUST like her - she's perfect".

I was right!

Ok maybe perfect is too ideal of a word, but she's perfect for me and yes, mom. She IS the best idea I ever had! My life changed a year ago today, and I wouldn't change it back for all the money in the world.

October 21, 2008

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Time Keeps On Slippin, Slippin, Slippin

One year ago today, I embarked on a journey that would change my life. Last October 18th, I left for Russia on trip #1 to meet my child. I didn't know when the day started what a different direction my trip would take versus what I had planned, but looking back, it was the trip of a lifetime and I will NEVER forget it.

When we reached the airport that night, I said to Rhonda "oh my gosh - I am going to meet my son". I left planning for a boy and returned over the moon with giddiness for my daughter. Lots of crazy, wild things happened on that trip, much of I have spoken about. Two quick memories that I'd like to relive with you ...

When Rhonda and I landed in Seoul, we were STRUNG OUT. I don't know if it was the heat on Korean Air, the lack of sleep or just being slap happy from a 5 hour flight and then a 13 hour flight. Because we were so out of it - we didn't put two and two together and figure out the whole "transit" passenger instructions. On top of this, a majority of the passengers on the plane were ending their trip in Seoul, we we just followed the herd, desperate for some food. Because we weren't in the transit area, most of the workers did NOT speak English - just Korean. They didn't understand that we were between flights and just wanted to get a snack. We couldn't see ANY restaurants on the level we were at. The employees told us that at that hour (it was like 5:30am) we'd have to exit security, go through customs and there would be food outside. We begrudgingly did this - after 30 minutes of trying to figure out where we were going, thinking the whole time "Incheon is the 5th largest airport in the world there HAS to be food somewhere". We found it and then headed back through security and UP a level to the mecca that is the real airport. Sheesh. At least our passports say that we were in Korea!!

Monday night we were tucked safely in our room at the Vlad Motor Inn. I had just been through an emotional roller coaster after the in country coordinator told me that "the boy is not good" (speaking about my referral). I was stressed and over tired. I went to sleep while Rhonda caught up on some email and got ready for bed. Apparently the bathroom door in our room made a weird noise when you closed it. In my super over tired state, I swore someone was trying to break in to our room - or something along those lines. Then I realized it was just in the room and I was yelling at Rhonda "do you hear that?" and then something like "stop that!". The tables were turned about 3 hours later when the phone rang at mid-night and she was talking in-coherently to me while I was trying to talk to my agency back in the US. I was asking her to be quiet (shhhhhh) and telling her it was Lorien and she was thinking I was yelling at her again.
Both stories are HYSTERICAL to me now -- and I am sure most of it was "you had to be there" type funny, but I can look back at that stressful week and laugh, smile and thank god for the way that everything worked out.

A year later I spent a wonderful day with my daughter. Here she is below in the required fall leaves pictures! I've said it before... and I'll say it again, it's amazing how things work out!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Apples and Pumpkins

Mary & Tatiana gossiping - can you imagine this in 20 years??
I won't look at the camera but I sure am cute...

I got shades...

Two Harvest Beauties!

Another couple firsts for Little Miss T. This weekend her Great Aunt Kay was in town - visiting from Florida. Aunt Kay is T's Gramma's baby sister. In fact, if T hadn't had such a great Russian name, she likely would have been Elizabeth Kay.
Poor Aunt Kay, they are experiencing unseasonably warm Florida weather this year and up here, well... let's just say we may have skipped the fall days and jumped right to winter. My computer is telling me it's 29.7 degrees outside as I type this! And no, that's NOT Celsius!
To celebrate Aunt Kay's visit, we all went to Blake's Apple Orchard in Armada, MI. Great Orchard -cruddy weather. Combine that with too many people, a pushed back nap, and we had some ups and downs at the Orchard. The shades you see in the pictures are actually Mary's but since literally everyone else had glasses on, T HAD to have glasses. And silly mama, forgot T's glasses. Bad mama!
Happy Fall!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hopefully Not $1 Short!

I really meant to post this yesterday, but I was so tired last night when I got home, it was all I could do to attempt to stay awake for the whole episode of Grey's Anatomy. So... I am a day late! It seems that I am celebrating a lot of "anniversaries" lately. I have another one to add to the list!

One year ago yesterday, on 10/1, I was on a business trip in Holland and Grand Rapids, MI. I had a meeting early in the morning, so I spent the night before (9/30) in a hotel. That day 3 families who were waiting for referrals for the Moscow City program at my agency received the big phone call. While I was so over the moon excited for my "friends", I was bummed that I hadn't heard anything. At this stage, I had only been officially waiting for 4 weeks - in hindsight, that's NOTHING! So many families wait for much, much longer. Alas, it was my birthday week so I can chock my emotions up to that craziness. I sent an email off to Lorien at my agency asking for an update on how things were going in Vladivostok.

After my Holland meeting, I left for Grand Rapids where I was planning to have lunch and kill some time talking to customers before my 2nd appointment that day with a wholesaler. I was walking out of a store getting ready to go to lunch when my phone rang. It was Lorien at my agency. I immediately thought that maybe my emotions had gotten the best of me and that my questions must have sounded snippy so she was trying to answer them on the phone. She asked if I was in my office and had my computer handy. Because I had stayed in a hotel, I did have my laptop with me - but told her it wasn't turned on at this time. And then it hit me -- WHY WAS SHE ASKING ABOUT MY COMPUTER? At the same time she said -- "oh well then you haven't seen what I sent you - A REFERRAL!". I think I literally screamed.

I quickly went across the road to Boston Market for lunch where I opened the email, called my mom, my dad and of course, Rhonda. Mom and dad were both excited... Rhonda cried. Which started my crying as well. I even told the staff at Boston Market what was going on and showed them the pictures of the little guy.

Wait. What? Little guy? Yup - if you remember my referral was for a little guy who was 16 months old. An adorably cute little blond haired, blue eyed little guy. Two days later, the IA Specialist Doctor ranked him as "above average risk" and I agreed to travel to meet him. Due to his health situation and the answers to the questions that the doctors had about him, I ended up declining this little guy during my trip #1.

So why am I celebrating this referral that didn't end up working out? I firmly believe that everything on my crazy, emotional journey lead me directly to my little Russian sprite, Tatiana. While I didn't end up being the best mom for little Vladimir (which may or may not be his name!), he was a CRUCIAL step along the way to meeting T. So, every October 1st, I will celebrate him and a big step in the road to meeting Tatiana. I still pray that he finds the perfect mama and leads a happy life. I saw him briefly at the baby home during trip #2 and he made me smile. And yes, I have been known to check the database to see if he's still there.

Finally, there was another celebration yesterday. My beautiful friend Sara, who not only shared such a parallel path on her route to Vladivostok for trip #1 but also shared travel days with me, FINALLY got her court date! You could probably hear my celebratory scream in Vladivostok! So many great people are in/will be in Vladivostok this month - I wish I could be there with you!
And of course, I'll leave you with another shot of T the beautiful!